Open enrollment & our little engineers.
I am beginning to meet with families interested in sending their children to Country Classroom next year, and it's an exciting process. I'm looking to have the right balance for next year's class with some children from each grade and a reasonable gender balance. Our hope is to have enough students to have Theresa in the classroom every day - yay! We won't get bigger than 15 students, so we'll have plenty of space for dance parties and plenty of time to devote to each student.
All of these meetings give me an even greater respect for all of you. When we didn't even have a classroom space yet, you were willing to jump on board. Thank you for allowing us to make this amazing place where children are treasured, nurtured, and challenged!
Engineering in All Its Forms
These last few weeks, the children have been even busier than usual building things. Barrels of water (courtesy of the sump pump that keeps the well clear) suddenly made digging in the sandbox much more appealing because we could make a pond! And a waterfall and a series of dams and lakes and... you get the idea. When the sandbox got just a little too crowded for all of the digging that needed to be done, some industrious souls moved on to the raised beds and got to work creating worlds in there. Then on one of our adventure walks we spotted a little bit of a shelter made from sticks. Everyone had to climb in and out, and then there were all sorts of ideas for expansions and improvements. I love these moments when everyone is pitching in together. Yes, there are moments of extreme disagreement as visions differ, but they are at a point now when they usually solve all of these problems with grace and often kindness. I just stand back, beam, and occasionally ask a leading question or two.
As part of our Thursday homeschool mornings, we have been building paper airplanes. In this more teacher directed exploration, the children have worked to figure out how different modifications change the way their planes fly. What happens if you put a paperclip on the nose of the plane? What if you move it to the tail? What happens if you fold the wings into smaller triangles? What happens if you put a tail fin on your plane? We've learned that it's important (and fun) to do lots of trials because each time you throw a plane in a different way.
The children wrote some great stories this past week about how different animals came to be. We also heard a few more stories. You can ask your child why maple sap comes out of the trees rather than maple syrup and why the maple tree taught the birds about maple sap. You can also ask how mosquitoes came to be and why they always insist on biting us. We talked about "tall tales" and heard a story about four Haundenosaunee hunters trying to tell the tallest of tales. We learned about Ursa Major, the big bear who was chased by three hunters right up into the sky. It's been a fun journey learning all of these new stories and hearing the children work to re-tell them. I'm bringing all of our Haudenosaunee library books back and will be getting out lots of books about our new theme, birds.
Inspired by the maple stories we read this week, the children did some work with ratios. We created 40 rectangles on our chalkboards and colored in one to help us get a sense of the ratio of maple sap to maple syrup (40:1). When we talked about what happened to all of the rest of the water, I was happy to hear the children talk about water changing from a liquid to a gas. It's nice to know that the work we did around the water cycle is part of their knowledge bank.
Anticipation is building for the 100th Day of School. Every morning as we figure out our days in school, the children want to figure out how many more days until we get to 100. I love how they approach this in different ways. Some of them use their fingers to count on, some use the 100 chart, and some can do it in their heads.
I was tickled to see three of our students playing "Guess My Rule" in their free choice time. This game helps them to really look at the attributes of geometric shapes and use some solid reasoning skills.
Thank you for supporting your child in the valentine creation process. They were all very, very excited about giving and receiving cards today. Thank you also for all of the parents who made a special treat for our party today.
Have a wonderful week off, and I'll see everyone on the 22nd!